Guyana aims to accelerate efforts to eliminate several Communicable Diseases by 2030.


GUYANA, GEORGETOWN, 4 APRIL 2024-The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) collaborates with the Guyana’s Ministry of Health in eliminating several communicable diseases and conditions by 2030 and beyond.  The technical team facilitating the workshop comprised of five facilitators: Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, Director, Prevention, Control, and Elimination of Communicable Diseases, Dr. Martha Saboyá, Senior Advisor, Communicable Diseases Elimination Initiative, Mr. Christopher Lim, Chief, Strategic Fund for Public Health Supplies, Regional Funds, Dr. Orielle Solar, Unit Chief, Health Promotion and Social Determinants of Health, and Mr. Carlos Otero, International Consultant, Information Systems and Digital Health.

The diseases and conditions include Lymphatic Filariasis, Leprosy or Hansen’s disease, Chagas, soil-transmitted Helminths (worms), malaria, hepatitis, C, vertical transmission of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B, some vaccine preventable diseases, and cervical cancer. In October 2023, MoH convened and established the country’s disease elimination working group, the first of its kind in the Region of the Americas, setting out different elimination targets for each of the diseases.

The Ministry of Health is currently reinforcing several of its programmes for disease elimination, towards making medications and treatments easily and readily available. There are likewise school programmes, community programmes and those targeted to individuals.

In Latin America, the poverty situation remains a pressing concern, especially in the context of the diseases and conditions that the country envisions to eliminate. It is noted that at least 180 million people live below poverty, and it is in this category that these diseases are mostly prevalent. The impoverished and marginalized populations are often heavily burdened with neglected infectious diseases (NIDs) and other poverty-related infectious diseases. This group of infectious diseases continues to take a measurable toll on families, communities, and nations’ socio-economic development.

Photo: Minister Anthony with PWR-GUY and Disease Elimination Workshop visiting experts at the MOH Guyana Boardroom

Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health, indicated that most of the programmes operates vertically. He added that for elimination activities to achieve the greatest success they should be integrated into the existing structure and this will call for the Ministry of Health to regroup and change its strategies on the way the Ministry operates.  “It is difficult for us to make that transformation, but we have to try if we are going to achieve the results that we would like to see, therefore, we have to find ways and means of how we are going to integrate these vertical programs” said Hon. Ministry Anthony.

Photo: Disease Elimination Workshop participants at the MOH Guyana Boardroom

Meanwhile, Dr. Luis Codina, PAHO/WHO representative, highlighted the pioneering work of Guyana in championing disease elimination among its people and in the Region. He emphasized that some of these diseases such as malaria is a border health issue, with many other factors including target populations such as miners, sometimes violence,illegal crossing, and other specific issues that have implications on technical cooperation approaches. He said it is not the nets and the treatment we only have to address, but it incorporates a lot of things intervening at the same time, that needs attention.

“The Minister of Health is championing the integration of elimination and sustainable elimination of communicable disease.  This is why it is very important to build on the achievements and lessons learned from elimination efforts. Therefore, I think this is one of the most important efforts in the country today, said Dr. Codina.

As Guyana move forward to accelerate the elimination of communicable diseases, PAHO/WHO will continue to work steadily and provide technical support to the Ministry of Health in achieving its goal in the elimination of several diseases by 2030 and beyond.

Dr. Orielle Solar, Unit Chief, Health Promotion and Social Determinants of Health
Dr. Reza Robin-Niles, Director Vector Control Services - Ministry of Health, Guyana
Dr. Martha Saboyá, Senior Advisor, Communicable Diseases Elimination Initiative
Mr. Christopher Lim, Chief, Strategic Fund for Public Health Supplies, Regional Funds working with participants.